President Enrique Peña Nieto carried out what is being described as his administration’s first major cabinet shuffle on Thursday. The announcement was made days before the President’s third annual governance report, scheduled for next week.
Some of the changes involved shifting current members from one department to another. For example, former Secretary of Tourism Claudia Ruiz-Massieu will now head the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE), a division formerly headed by Jose Antonio Meade who has now been shifted to head the Secretariat of Social Development (SEDESOL).
Former SEDESOL head Rosario Robles will in turn head the Secretariat of Territorial, Urban and Agriculture/Livestock Development (SEDATU), replacing Jesús Murillo.
Murillo and Monte Alejandro Rubido, the now former head of the National Security Commission (CNS), will no longer be occupying positions in the President’s cabinet.
Some media outlets have linked the dismissal of the two cabinet members to disappointment with their performance. Rubido, an experienced specialist in public security, headed the CNS when top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped from a federal prison for a second time in July. As for Murillo, prior to being assigned to head the SEDATU six months ago, he headed the Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) during the disappearance – and presumed killing – of 43 students in the state of Guerrero.
Regardless, President Peña’s tone was warm, respectful and genuinely appreciative of all members’ service.
“At this point of the administration, I have decided to make changes to my team of government in order to address the new circumstances and challenges we face as a country,” stated the President during an announcement ceremony held in Mexico City. “To those who in these three first years of this administration have contributed all their experience and dedication to the service of the best causes of the nation, I publicly express my recognition, personally and institutionally.”
Emilio Chuayffet, who prior to being replaced by Aurelio Nuño was Secretary of Public Education, will no longer occupy any cabinet level positions, citing health reasons.
Among the new faces is Enrique de la Madrid, who will be taking over the Secretariat of Tourism. A public administration Master’s graduate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, de la Madrid is the son of former Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid and was Technical Coordinator of the Mexican National Banking and Securities Commission during the administration of Ernesto Zedillo from 1994 to 2000.